Thursday, September 23, 2010

Elder Abuse

From the web page of the Ohio Supreme Court:

The Supreme Court of Ohio has suspended the license of [a] Warren attorney...for two years, with the second year of that term stayed on conditions, for professional misconduct in his handling of legal matters entrusted to him by two sets of clients and for failing to promptly cooperate with disciplinary authorities investigating the grievances filed against him.

In a 6-1 per curiam opinion announced today, the Court adopted findings by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline that [he] obtained and then defaulted on a $13,000 personal loan from an elderly client of his law practice, and drew up a trust agreement for the same client that named [the attorney's] five children as beneficiaries of the trust in violation of disciplinary rules that bar an attorney from accepting employment or entering into a business transaction with a client in which the lawyer’s and client’s interests may conflict.

The Court also found that in a separate case [the attorney] collected legal fees from two clients for whom he had prepared a guardianship application without first obtaining the approval of the local probate court.  [He] was subsequently found by the probate court to have engaged in concealment of assets in the case, and ordered to refund $1,200 of the legal fees he had improperly collected from those clients.

The majority decision was joined by Chief Justice Eric Brown and Justices Paul E. Pfeifer, Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, Terrence O’Donnell, Judith Ann Lanzinger and Robert R. Cupp.  Justice Maureen O’Connor dissented, stating that she would impose a two year suspension with no portion stayed.

The court's opinion is linked here. (Mike Frisch)

Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink

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